The rise of the virtual school nativity

With coronavirus continuing to cause disruption, many schools have opted to hold a virtual school nativity this year to continue this much-loved tradition.

Published: December 9, 2020

Traditionally, Christmas is one of the busiest times in the school year with activities like school fayres, carol singing, and (last but definitely not least) the school nativity taking place throughout December. Whilst coronavirus has brought huge disruption to school life, we’re pleased to see that schools are as keen as ever to carry on with the nativity! In this article, we look at how schools are rethinking the usual stage performance in favour of a virtual school nativity.

The origins of the nativity

Believe it or not, the tradition of the nativity play dates all the way back to 1223! Since then, it’s become a well-established fixture in the festive calendar of most UK primary schools. Re-enacting the birth of Jesus, with little ones in starring roles, helps teach kids why we celebrate Christmas. It’s also a great chance for schools to flex their creative muscles.

The nativity ‘with a twist’

This year, it sadly isn’t possible to host a conventional school nativity play for health reasons. Despite this, a host of schools have come up with alternative ways to continue this much-loved tradition! Here are some of the solutions they have found:

1) The whole-school performance

Many schools have been involving the entire school, filming individual classes acting out a scene or singing a song. The various scenes are edited together to create a virtual school nativity film. Schools can then share the performance with parents and community members using social media or tools like Google Classroom.

2) The livestream performance

Other schools are acting out scenes in bubbles which they are livestreaming to parents. There are some helpful resources that teachers can use to help structure their nativity play according to the number of kids involved.

3) The straight-to-DVD performance

If livestreaming your school nativity gives you the jitters, you might choose to create a nativity DVD. After filming the scenes and editing, the DVD is ready to share with your audience!

Of course, none of this would be possible without technology. Equipment such as school iPads can be great tools for film-making and editing, as they can shoot full HD video. Whilst the iPad Pro is the best option for film-making (with features such as twin cameras, continuous video auto-focus, and optical image stabilisation), the standard iPad and iPad mini are also capable of shooting and editing standard HD. You can even buy handy accessories like external microphones, lights, and clamps and cases to attach your iPad to a tripod for filming – to avoid the risk of wobbly footage!

At Utility Rentals, we applaud the positive “the show must go on” spirit that schools have shown with their virtual school nativity performances! The school nativity is a great tradition and seeing the little ones act always brings a smile to our faces.



If you need help with new school iPads, we offer a range of models via our flexible budget-friendly rental agreements, contact us today to find out more!


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